The quartet in Anima is augmented by a cast of mobile transducers that transform the instruments into active agents of projection. Like stethoscopes listening in on the secrets of the body, players trace these transducers across the surface of their instruments, from F-holes to fingerboards, from backs to bridges, breathing animate sound as they move into these inanimate objects. As the work unfolds, these augmented instruments become entangled in a volatile chain of feedback that threatens the virtuosic control of their performer. Such tactics pose provocative questions of the instruments. Are they golems: lumps of clay until incanted into life? Or Frankensteins: destined to resist the ones who made them? Anima looks for an electric blood, a digital breath, a monstrous becoming inside the pristine tradition of the string quartet.
Anima was commissioned by GMEM-CNCM-Marseille, Théâtre d'Orléans, IRCAM-Centre Pompidou and ProQuartet, with support from ULYSSES Network, as part of the EU program "Creative Europe."
Anima was premiered by the Diotima Quartet at Festival Les Musiques in Marseille, France on May 15, 2017. It has sinced been performed by Diotima in Orleans, Paris, Warsaw, and Milan, by the Sonar Quartet in Berlin, Germany, by the Amaranth Quartet in Oakland, California, and by the Arditti Quartet in Darmsatdt, Germany. The Arditti Quartet is featured in the live concert recording linked below.